My top ten games for 2010

As most websites, bloggers and podcasts wish to rate their 10  favorites of 2010. It got me thinking to do the same. I’m going to exclude mobile games, which was perhaps, the bigger story. Click on names to see more.

10. Limbo (Xbox 360)– There’s no color. There’s no exposition. You’re just a little boy in a very dark forest overcoming rather creepy obstacles. It’s indie pretention and die-to-progress game design proved a non-factor. Mind blowing , minimalist sound design and lots of little touches. I was completely sucked in for the short time it lasted. If you’re not sure, revisit it again and pay attention! Good on you, Denmark.

9. Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)- A game to be enjoyed at all ages. This is my ringing endorsement for the video game inclined (or even newbie) parent, to play with their kids. This makes you feel good. If it doesn’t, you are a little dead inside. Alex Navarro at Giant Bomb put it perfect, “I consider myself a fairly cynical person by nature. That Kirby’s Epic Yarn left me a smiling, cooing, mushy-brained mess of happy by the end of it says an awful lot about how well-constructed and almost painfully pleasing this game is to play.”

8. Blur (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)- Bizarre Creations are masters of the arcade racer from my viewpoint. I didn’t quite grok Metropolis Street Racer, but PGR4 blew me away when most dismissed greatness for the sameness. Here they take on the mario kart franchise, but skew car combat for adults with licensed cars and superior online play. Why this didn’t sell more, I will never understand. Blur 2 would have been pure awesomeness, and I cry inside that I will never see it.

7. Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)–  Online co-op play done excellent. With xbox live seamless voice chat and up to 3 friends, you are in for a night to remember. Still the best vehicles and enemy ai in a fps. Oh yeah, they added freakin’ jet packs too. The best entry to Halo since the first, and a fine swan song to the Bungie/Microsoft partnership.

6. Split/Second (PS3/ Xbox 360)-  The most intense, explosive, thrill ride of the year. A summer action movie quote for a game that plays like one. Winning or losing is crap shoot and inducing. The king, in a fantastic year of arcade racers. restart. restart. restart.

Heavy Rain has characters based on real actors. This offers a much more realistic performance then most games. Click on picture to see more.

5. Heavy Rain (PS3)- The best story I experienced in 2010. This dark film noir thriller had me engrossed to it’s surprising conclusion. The unique control scheme created effective tension as you had to react to the narrative and your actions could either doom or save the four main protagonists. Although critics will claim it’s just a series of quicktime events, when I replayed it and explored how your choices changed the story, I became more impressed with this title. I felt the camera work and the way the scenes were directed, was the best I’ve seen in the medium. This French-developed game, is sure to be still talked about years from now. San Rafael-based Telltale Games is taking notes already. Proof of the influence this game will have going forward. Also my favorite musical score of the year.

4. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)– I was done with galaxy, after I beat the first one. That was my thinking going in. What I found is best level design this year and complete validation of mario’s greatness for us nintendo blowhards. Endlessly inventive.

3. Red Dead Redemption (PS3/ Xbox 360)– My distain aside, Rockstar continues to perfect their craft and solidify being a major force in the game landscape. Impressive open world, ambitious online mode and great add-ons, make it the blockbuster in my gaming world. It’s also a hell of a western.

2. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (PS3/ Xbox 360)– A melding of my favorite things. Adventure, exploration, history, platforming and cool gadgets. One year later for a sequel was too soon, till I realized this is proving to be my favorite franchise this generation. This took a army of people to create and it shows. Vive Roma!

1. Mass Effect 2 (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)– The most interesting and fleshed out sci-fi world created in a videogame. Successfully combines a solid action third-person shooter with deep role playing experience. The characters all have a great backstory, with the the most absorbing conversation system I’ve seen. This is proof that games have the potential to transcend movies as entertainment.


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